John Boehner’s ceaseless complaints that the President and the Democrats are acting irresponsibly by refusing to offer him concessions to stop doing what he never should have started to do – damage the national interest by shutting down the government and threaten the national credit and honor by risking default – reminds me of a story Benjamin Franklin told about the behavior of the Townsend Government with respect to the Stamp Tax. Having failed to collect the tax, the ministry offered a compromise: they would repeal the tax if the colonists would pay for the cost of printing the now-useless stamps.
The whole Proceeding would put one in Mind of the Frenchman that used to accost English and other Strangers on the Pont-Neuf, with many Compliments, and a red hot Iron in his Hand; “Pray Monsieur Anglois,” says he, “Do me the Favour to let me have the Honour of thrusting this hot Iron into your Backside?”
“Zoons, what does the Fellow mean! Begone with your Iron or I’ll break your Head!”
“Nay Monsieur,” replies he, “if you do not chuse it, I do not insist upon it. But at least, you will in Justice have the Goodness to pay me something for the heating of my Iron.”